Ending the Year

Well, as you can imagine, I haven’t updated this because I have absolutely no free time and I never get online. Oh wait, I actually have so much free time that I have no real excuse for not updating stuff and putting this post up. As before, I am currently in a hold status in Charleston at NPTU, Nuclear Power Training Unit because of a bunch of problems with our submarines. While technically I’m assigned to the MTS-635 (Moored Training Ship), I actually have been driving a bus since September when I first got assigned to NPTU, aka Prototype. It’s been really relaxing to do nothing, but it makes me wonder how much I’ve forgot — and how much it’ll suck to be leaving at 4:30 AM and getting home at 8 PM every night. I’ll be a zombie, I’m sure of it.

Posing for what was one of three hundred million photos for my mom. Our faces hurt from smiling!
Posing for what was one of three hundred million photos for my mom. Our faces hurt from smiling!

Anyway, the good news about being on hold is that I got to take a 13 day leave, my first in around a year. Thank God because even working a few hours a day still means that I’m stuck here in Charleston away from family. Carissa and I fly into Midland on November 30th, and the following morning we announced that we have secretly already got married. Yep, that’s it. I’m a married man. How strange is that?

To us, it just sounded logical and we knew we were right to be together. I didn’t see the point in prolonging an engagement because I have literally no clue when/if I will get out of Prototype, and how my leave schedule would be. This way we were able to get the paperwork done, get IDs updated, bank information changed, military insurance, and all that other fun stuff out of the way. Don’t worry though; we still plan on having a wedding/reception some time in the future, somewhere. The idea will be a small service in the reception area, and then have a lot of fun and party. The honeymoon is our big focus because we know only a few members of the family will ever get to be together for the wedding since her family is in Ohio and mine is, of course, in Texas. Perhaps we’ll meet in Savannah, where her mom currently lives. It is a beautiful city, so it’s possible. But, I’ll talk about this more in the future. Just writing it down because I’ve had to explain it about a hundred thousand times already!

Koreana, the best Korean food/any food that I know of. It's enough to send Dan into tears just thinking about it!
Koreana, the best Korean food/any food that I know of. It’s enough to send Dan into tears just thinking about it!

So, back to leave. We stayed in Midland for a few days, then went to San Antonio to see my relatives, Cathy and Dennis (and their big Huskies!). I’ve always loved San Antonio, and I’ve spent so much time there because of family and attending Trinity University that I knew all the cool places to go. We did the Riverwalk, ate at fancy restaurants, saw the Alamo, went to Market Square, and a few other places. Carissa definitely loved San Antonio the same way I did. The weather was in the upper 60’s the entire time, making it amazing for walking around and being devoid of tourists since it was December, after all. There’s still more to do in San Antonio, so next time I’ll make sure we get to see it all!

From there, we headed to Austin (and I gave Carissa her first kolache, the best pig in the blanket concept ever made). We were able to meet up with a couple of people, Charlotte from Wisconsin, who I studied with in Australia (random, I know), and see my buddy Scott, who I went to middle school and Trinity with. We toured the state capitol and went to some museums, but we stayed away from 6th Street, which is probably for the best (we had been getting really, really drunk in San Antonio!). After that, we drove into Dallas and saw my mamaw and a few other relatives, before meeting up with Logen and Ashley. It’s been forever since I’ve seen them and it was great to introduce them to Carissa. I miss those two so much because we’re all opinionated assholes.

Fat Ava, the laziest damn dog alive and my princess, who I love dearly. She has her own leather couch. Throne?
Fat Ava, the laziest damn dog alive and my princess, who I love dearly. She has her own leather couch. Throne?

After that, we were going to head to Houston but scheduling and finding a cheap enough hotel was an issue, so we had to miss out on seeing Faber, which sucked, but there will be plenty of opportunities in the future. We were dead tired by that point anyway. Not sure how I did it all the last time I was on leave! So, we headed back to Midland and hung out with the family. Carissa got to have her first barbeque, including some of the best brisket ever (thank you Howard!). And, we had time to see my niece, Genevieve, who is absolutely wild and in love with puppies. All in all, it was such a much needed break.

But, that was a few weeks ago and now we’re just back in Charleston, waiting for it to finally get cold. We don’t really go out much because we’re on a budget and Carissa is always working, but then again, it’s amazing to just get to hang out around the house with her. We both have an intense love for sleeping, which is where a large part of our free time goes. Thankfully, we balance it with exercise.

So other than that, Happy New Year! I hope it’s been as good of a year as it has been for me (minus six months of hell in Nuclear Power School). See you in 2013.

Back to Work

Emily and I at a club in Houston. I absolutely miss the stupid fun nights we used to have!

Well, leave was fun. I pretty much had a complete blast, but now it’s been a couple of weeks and I’m right back in the thick of it until May. May cannot come soon enough. Every day I wake up and wonder “What am I doing?” At night, I actually hate going to sleep because the thought of tomorrow sounds so awful and I want to avoid it at all costs. I have progressed to a point in between apathy and just existing.  Now, I know that might sound like a desperate sign of giving up, but I mainly am just trying to coast through to the end of this. Right now, if I failed out of the program and was re-rated, I would be happy. I would, however, be more happy if I made officer. Still working on that process, but as before the Navy, it’s a complicated one.

That said, I’ve been doing pretty overall. My grades are okay and I’m still making enough effort to get by, even if I don’t really care about what I’m learning right now. I really did need that leave to give me a break from this place, and it was everything I could have imagined. I got to see Emily, Lizz, and Logen in Midland; Stephanie, Christian, Jesse, Rob, and my aunt and uncle Cathy and Dennis in San Antonio; Kayla, Brennan, and Andi in Austin; Emily, Jason, Eleina, and Dee Dee in Houston; my relatives and my grandma in Dallas. I almost saw my middle school friend Pierce in Houston as well, but his girlfriend got bit by a rabid animal. That’ll happen. I even almost made it to a New Years Eve party to see Tully and the gang, but I missed that. Heard he broke his arm being hammered. Ouch.

HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE.

This weekend has been a needed relief too. I don’t know how I will string together my sanity to get through Power School, but I’d like to personally thank MLK for having a dream, so that I could sleep in and have a dream myself. I managed to just hang out and have a good time this weekend, not working too much, and seeing a little of the Charleston sights with (my boy) Kapoi. We hit up the USS Yorktown, which I have been wanting to do for a while. Pretty badass. We had planned to see Ft. Sumter but it was way too cold to deal with that ferry ride.

Today was just sleeping in and work, but tomorrow is another fun exam over things I don’t care about. About one or two exams a week every week until I get out of here. The only good thing is that I will have a good amount of padding points wise to scrape by. I already threw the honorman out of the window, so I’ll be shooting for passing. (I’m not just good, I’m good enough.)

I’ll try to keep updating this, but man, I really don’t do anything. I feel like the weeks blur by and it’s all a game about passing time. When you sleep as little as I do now, you’re never really awake and never really asleep.

Merry Christmas

Jimenez, Pendy, Stemps, and Me

I’ve been home on leave for a few days but I never find time to update this thing like I would have liked to. Since I’ve been here it’s been pretty non-stop trying to see everyone and balance family time as well. I’m just so glad to not be in Charleston.

I finally got to spend some good time with Lizz since we only briefly saw each other last time. As well, I got to meet up with Logen for a few minutes for the first time in such a long time.

I’ve also decided to spend the rest of leave traveling around Texas to see everyone else: Steph and Christian in San Antonio, Brennan in Austin, Emily in Houston, and family in Dallas. Probably a few other stops too. We’ll see!

White Christmas

Today it’s Christmas. I think I actually did good on the gift situation this year, so that made me feel good. I like to give books because I know I can match people’s personalities. Still haven’t done Christmas (we’re doing it later because my brother working and general family logistics). It’s actually a white Christmas, my first ever. Never seen so much snow come from the sky — I’m impressed, and a little grossed out. Cold weather is not my thing.  So happy I brought my peacoat.

Anyway, I am just trying to use my time wisely. So not looking forward to my return. I will be absent from Jan. 2nd until May 25, assuming I can survive that long.

Doing the Marathon

The courtyard, complete with random chickens

Actually, I think if I tried to run a marathon I’d either die from exhaustion or just sheer boredom. How do people run for more than half a marathon? Even with ESPN on in front of me, I still get too bored and distracted.

But I digress: this post is about Marathon, Texas, a town in the middle of nowhere that borders on the Big Bend National Park. This is a really nice area for when you want to get away from doing anything at all, largely because you can do nothing except explore, sit, and drink. It manages to gather together a fairly eccentric group of people from all around the world. This time we found a bunch of Canadians, Yankees, and even a German, all of whom I assume were escaping the cold. It’s always fun to sit around the fire and talk to random people about random things; in fact, this is one of my strong suits, and I definitely get it from my dad, who apparently can make friends with anyone, anywhere.

The famous white buffalo from the Gauge Hotel. He looks a little down. Maybe it's because he never fit in as a kid, or maybe just because he got his ass shot

Way back when, this was my spring break in 2008 but this time we did less exploring and more sitting around and drinking. Doing nothing is occasionally very good, though I ended up feeling a like I needed a break for my break by the end of it (a phrase I liked and stole from Logen this morning).

It was still a good break from the routine. I largely do the same thing every single day; the same repetitious physical tasks. I’m now really, really good at doing what I do, but apart from that, I am pretty tired of it. Ready for May to roll around and the Navy to send me out. Ready to end up in Charleston, South Carolina and give that a go. Kind of hard to be motivated to go to the gym every day because it’s got so boring. Maybe I should try that P90X thing to keep it varied? My friend Josh has it and I just need to go pick it up. But then I’d be pissed at paying the gym fee and not using it. Yes, this is really the deep kind of debate I have with myself. (That and what gas station I’ll pick for lunch. Try the FIRST Stripes when you get into Crane, TX and you’ll be in for a delicious liver and gizzard treat!)

The following weeks still should be good. Still working on figuring out a date for visiting Emily, but March is pretty full and April is rough for her, so I’ll have to mess around and see what I can get arranged. And visit Sam in his million dollar crash Manhattan crash pad, as soon as he gets it. Gotta do all this before May, and it’s getting sooner.

I had to delay things a little since I got another speeding ticket. I actually don’t care too much since it was just 200 dollars and I can’t take that awful waste of my soul class, but it did mean I got the fun Navy lectures and got to fill out a sheet basically saying I’ll never speed again, ever. Military loves their paperwork.

For now though, that’s it. I spend a good part of my day thinking that I should update this, but I rarely have much to say that’s interesting, and even when I do update it, I don’t find it all that interesting when I see all of the awesome things my friends are doing with their lives.

Except Dan.

December

Our Christmas tree, and I didn’t even have to help put it together

December for me usually just means it’s freezing cold and I’m in Midland for the holidays. Now that I’m living here for who knows how long until the Navy lets me figure out my future, I have just kind of faded into this month — there aren’t any finals or big parties to announce it at school, and now this is my life. I try not to hate on Midland too much (oh wait, no I don’t), but last Thursday I think everything finally got to me. I was having one of those days where you just think “how much more of this can I take”, and it was compounded by the frustrations of the preceding days. As well, not knowing what is going on in my life is really hard when I can barely afford my student loans, my job was supposed to be temporary, and I have to be here just in a holding pattern until I find out.

I’m a gangster, or an oil field worker sick of dust.

So, on this Thursday I managed to get H2S gassed pretty good and lost my breakfast from the stuff (it makes me really sick to my stomach, for some reason; my dad shrugged this off like I was just weak, but whatever). And then the next unit I went to had yellow jackets inside the panel, meaning as soon as I opened it they got completely pissed. I tried to go back to it to close it, but they were too angry, leading me to have to wrap up in every piece of winter clothes I could find to try to protect myself to go in for a quick run and get my ladder back and get the unit sealed up. I managed to do it, though I did get stung and was covered in them when I was scrambling to get into my truck. Just not a fan of these things. So they next unit I go to — same deal, full of yellow jackets. And this is the day that I ran out of wasp spray while I was spraying them. Not a very good situation to be in, trust me. Basically, the whole day turned out to be a complete bust and I was driving home just thinking about how I didn’t want to go home, but I didn’t want to be at work, but I had to do both things in one day.

The most exciting thing of the week: I got lost in the field and found the remains of Hobbs AFB, complete with old plane parts and grown up runways.

Somehow the day ended and things were better the next day. The wind had died down so I didn’t need a bandanna to keep from choking on the dust, and it was strangely something like 85 degrees. Some December this is turning out to be. I know because I said this we’ll have record cold temperatures now. I even spent some time at my brother’s and played some video games, which was nice for a change. Yes, this is about as close to going out as I get lately.

I’m excited for people I like coming into town for a few days. Change things up and refresh my sanity. I’m also hopeful that this coming week I will find out what the Navy will do with me so I can know for sure where I’m going, when I’m going, and what I’m doing. I need something to look forward to, and these are the two things that keep me going. I also need some structure that isn’t this structure. That is my hope on the horizon.

17 December 2008

It's pretty massive for a dorm room

I had been meaning to update this. I’ve been home for almost a week, which is pretty legit. I’ve done nothing so far, which is also pretty legit. I’ve signed up for Netflix so I basically lay in bed watching movies all day for free on my huge TV. I can’t ask for a ton more, actually.

It’s surprising that I’ll be out of the country soon. I’m glad to be done with school for this semester. Between the horrible deli gig, my weird love life, and my shitty grades, it will be nice to move past that. Too bad this semester will kick my GPA’s ass. How awesome. I managed to do minimal work for most of the semester, but I actually did put in work to these upper level communication classes. But they all give B’s at best and C’s at worst. And I’ve been getting a lot of that worst stuff. I even withdrew from a class.

Is this what college is all about? Hating it? Learning nothing? Memorizing? I certainly hope not, but then again it keeps seeming this way more and more. When was it supposed to change? I should have went to a state school and coasted by.

Whatever, I hope that Australia is extremely awesome and it makes up for this bland semester. Tomorrow I may get to see someone I’ve missed. I want to take portraits.

2 December 2008

It was.

So, now it’s already December. This semester is wrapping up. That is kind of nice, and kind of scary, as usual. The amount of work I have due on December 8th is pretty much ridiculous and I’m definitely not looking forward to it. That said, once I’m done I can go home and relax until early Febuary when I leave for Perth. It’s almost a done deal, and I can’t imagine what would stop it from going through. I’ve heard rumors that it’s a good situation for American guys. I will have to report on that later, though.

I’m quitting work on the 9th. I really haven’t worked much. They offered me a position as a night manager, but I doubt that I would really want to put up with the kids anyway. I’m the oldest guy there, which is sort of sad. The pay is horrible, but it was able to finance a lot of party goods and video games. I will be glad to quit, though.

As usual, I met another person who makes me happy. I sent her my camera. I hope she likes it. This girl is fascinated with birthdays, something that are rarely a big deal in my life. She goes to the extent of remembering half birthdays. In the period of one day, she sent me more cards than I’ve received in the last three or four years. That is pretty shocking. Cards are expensive too, so she must have went all out.

I think I may get some wine or something tomorrow. All we have is rum, which is fine, I suppose. But I do like being able to sip on alcohol instead of pounding shots. I should pick up some cigars too; make it a classy evening.

I’m in a genuinely bad mood lately. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep or maybe it’s something else. Sometimes I just feel like laying in bed all day. I did this a lot during freshman year, but I think that was more drug induced laziness than I am now. I hardly do anything “bad” anymore. I don’t even drink much.

I talked to Logen again recently. After things went sour, I suppose things are held together enough to make it through the holidays on a speaking basis. I miss her. Of everyone on this planet, she knows more about me. And, ironically, she’s been a relatively small portion of my life. A good friend, and definitely one I couldn’t ever stand to lose.

Work wore me down. It’s time to go to bed.